Colorado came into Thursday night’s meeting with Washington looking for both revenge (Spencer Dinwiddie, losing in OT three weeks ago) and for a key home victory. The Buffs can’t turn back time and prevent Dinwiddie’s injury, but they used vicious defense and just enough offense to edge the Huskies, 81-66.
This game was a rare chance to see the inactive list supersede the quality of those actually playing. Not that this was ever going to be a watchable game, but without Markelle Fultz (sore knee), Xavier Johnson (?), Wesley Gordon (?) and Deleon Brown (concussion), this game’s quality was severely limited.
The Buffs’ early offense was crafted by the hot hand of King. We all know the redshirt junior as a mercurial scorer just as likely to shoot the Buffs into oblivion as he is to bust out for an incredible performance. King had 8 of Colorado’s first 14 points and looked incredible doing it. He finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds (both team-highs) and played superb defense.
When King hit the bench to rest, the Buffs’ defense carried the team. Lacking big man depth without Gordon and Johnson, Tad Boyle had to get creative with lineups. Here, he sent out four guards to run around Tory Miller and cause chaos all over the floor.
CU had the obvious speed advantage and Washington lacked anyone who could dribble a basketball without looking down, so the Buffs played a relentless press defense that resulted in turnovers and transition buckets aplenty. The star of that defense in that span and in the game’s entirety was Dom Collier, who had 10 points, 5 assists and 4 steals in this tour de force.
As sloppy as that elongated sequence was, Tad Boyle made a decision, and that was to get the game even sloppier. Boyle saw all the turnovers, missed shots, fouls and loose balls and he said to himself, “Nah, this is nothing. I need this game to be as unwatchable as possible or I’m gonna yell at some basketbloggers in the press conference.”
And just like that, this half fell into the abyss and dared you to watch as it drifted down ever so slowly, ever so sloppily.
Colorado is used to playing in festering eyesores, so they had the massive advantage once they dragged Washington down with them. The Huskies were unable to cope and played one of the worst halves of basketball I’ve ever seen in the Coors Events Center, and that includes the halftime scrimmages between eight-year-olds. Though there are many causes to Washington’s ineptitude, I prefer to believe they were so terrible because Colorado’s defense was so good.
Also worth noting: Three lives were ended at the end of the first half. First, Malik Dime apparently slapped the shit out of a trash-talking fan in the student section. Unfortunately, there is no video of that. (Can you imagine getting slapped by a 6’10 shot-blocking specialist? Your face would be where the ball is in this picture and your soul would be in the abyss.)
After that, Derrick White dunked on some fools. There is video of that:
After White’s dunk, Bryce Peters murdered the rim on this ridiculous put-back dunk:
Next up for the Buffs is a Sunday matchup with the Washington State Cougars. That game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. and will air on ESPNU.